All-Star Comics #3 (Winter 1940):

1)I expect that if you've only read one Golden Age adventure of the JSA, this is the one.  It's not bad, but this first issue is more like an anthology than a team book, per se.

 

2)Line-Up: The Atom (Al Pratt), Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson), the Flash (Jay Garrick), the Green Lantern (Alan Scott), the Hawkman (Carter Hall), the  Hour Man (Rex Tyler), the Sandman (Wesley Dodds) and the Spectre (Jim Corrigan), with gate-crasher Johnny Thunder and the Red Tornado (Ma Hunkle), to whom Hourman says "Why, we meant to inviite you but we heard you were busy!" All white guys, of cours,e but only to be expected in those less progressive days. Nowadays, things are much different, since when the Justice League was recently revamped, the founding members were just mostly white guys. That aside, I have no real beef with the membership except the inclusion of Johnny Thunder, a character I've always loathed. If they had to have a "comedy" character on the team, I would've much preferred the Red Tornado.

 

3)The JSA gathers for a dinner. Johnny Thunder crashes the party and offers the suggestion that they each narrate an adventure to pass the time. During the dinner, the Flash is summoned to Washington, DC, to meet with Madam Fatal the head of the FBI.

 

4)No origin is given for the team - they all just sort of seem to know each other, already. Johnny Thunder is aware of the meeting, but the Sandman later says that the meeting is a secret. Although knocking out everyone in the lobby actually seems like it be more likely to draw attention than discourage it.

 

5)Doctor Fate: ""The Spectre and I do not touch food." Just as well, Doc, I wouldn't want to see you try to eat with that helmet on.

 

6)Superman, Batman and Robin and the Tornado are described as being "busy".  I find I don't miss Supes and Bats from the team.

 

7)The art is generally OK - nothing exceptionally good or exceptionally bad.

 

8)The Flash tells how he battled some pirates. A light-hearted story, particularly his encounter with a shark. Comics are far too serious these days to have a scene like that in it.

 

9)Hawkman tells of his battle with some fire people. Moldoff draws his wings REALLY HUGE.

 

10)The Spectre tells of his battle with Oom the Mighty, the goofiest demon ever.

 

11)Hourman tells of his battle with jewel thieves who all dress as Hourman.  Amusing because in the end, everyone thinks Rex Tyler was posing as Hourman when he actually was Hourman!

 

12)We have a brief interval where the Red Tornado drops by long enough for it to be revealed that she tore her pants. The Flash is aware of her as a comics character.

 

13)The Sandman tells of his battle of a mad doctor who creates giants in a particularly creepy tale.  I notice alot of these guys, their girlfirends know their secret ID's, with out it being the end of the world.

 

14)Doctor Fate introduces himself thusly:  " I am not human...I never was a child...I had no youth. The elder gods created me just as I am now, and placed me here on Earth to fight evil sorcery!"  I'm pretty sure this is the only place I remember the character's provenance being set out in this manner. anyhow, Fate tells of his battle with an evil sorceror.  Probably the most distinctive art style on this one.

 

15)Johnny Thunder, having suggested story-telling, says he's too shy to do it, "So the editors have written a story about something that happened to me."  So, he knows he's a comic book character, too. Anyhow, his adventure is a text pice about some silly damn thing he did.

 

16)The Atom battles a gang of gold thieves.  Whenever I see the Golden Age Atom's original costume I wonder why the crooks don't all just laugh themselves to death.

 

17)Green Lantern tells of his battle with some racketeers.

 

18)Cliffhanger: The Flash returns with the message that the head of the FBI wants to meet with them all!

 

Overall: This first issue holds up pretty well, all things considered. I still find it a fun read.

 

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Last Days of the Justice Society of America (1986)

Written by Roy Thomas,  "co-plotted" (whatever the Hell that means) by Dann Thomas, pencils by David Ross, inks by Mike Gustovich

This is the story that was meant to write the JSA out of continuity "forever" in the wake of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. I didn't see the need for it at the time, and I don't see the need for it now.  I have never understood (what seems to me to be) DC's pathological need to ignore the existence of its Golden Age characters. It infuriates me, and is one of the reason I still get irritable when someone mentions the CoIE.


That said, the story itself is ever so slightly on the "good" side of mediocre. Roy does the best he can, although from what he says in the text piece reprinted with this collection, his heart wasn't really in it.  He ties the story back in to the Paul Levitz JSA origin, bu the whole just doesn't work for me.

Also, the art is on the "bad" side of mediocre for me.

Overall:  An interesting historical artefact, that's all.

It was actually intended to be a graphic novel but got downgraded into a "special", neither the first nor last time DC went back on what they promised Roy.

DC showed restraint by not killing off the JSA entirely during the Crisis but they did:

  • kill both Robin and the Huntress
  • looked like they almost killed Hawkman
  • crippled Wildcat
  • banished Wonder Woman to a secluded suburb of Olympus
  • removed Superman from the Post-Crisis DCU.

Though Last Days spared Doctor Fate, Power Girl and the Star Spangled Kid, all three would undergo revisions that would leave them nearly unrecognizable from their original incarnations.

But Roy helped sealed their exile by introducing Infinity Inc as the JSA's next generation!

Are any characters from Infinity, Inc. even in current continuity?  The last one I saw was Mister Bones..

Not that I know but I don't get every DC title anymore.

Yeah, Mr. Bones is the only one I know that's active post-Flashpoint, although a couple of them were also seen in the Earth 2 and Worlds End titles, before they got destroyed. Mr. Bones has appeared in Batwoman in the New 52, and also, apparently, in Blue Beetle...though I'm not sure if that was during the New 52 or in his Rebirth book. (Which are sort of the same continuity, but not quite on certain books, and I think Blue Beetle might be among them.)


I have this on pre-order - presumably the  delivery is imminent..... - Is this the full extent of the contents?


The Baron said:

Last Days of the Justice Society of America (1986)

No, it also contains several JSAer origin stories by Roy Thomas from the Secret Origins book, and Roy's post-Crisis re-telling of the origin of the team itself.

Thankyou,


 
The Baron said:

No, it also contains several JSAer origin stories by Roy Thomas from the Secret Origins book, and Roy's post-Crisis re-telling of the origin of the team itself.

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